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Around Brooklyn: Coronavirus hits Hasidic community

March 18, 2020 Editorial Staff
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Coronavirus hits Hasidic community

At least 100 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Brooklyn’s Hasidic Borough Park neighborhood, amid intense debates within and around such communities over continued gatherings for prayer, study and celebrations like weddings. The spike in infections was clear evidence that the Hasidic community had been slow to act decisively in stopping the spread of coronavirus. “We were late as a community in closing our schools,” said Avi Grenstein, chief executive of the Borough Park Jewish Community Council.

Brooklyn-born ‘Captain America’ artist dies

Allen Bellman, one of the last links to the early days of Captain America in comic books, died on March 9 after a short illness at the age of 95, according to an announcement from San Diego Comic Fest. Bellman was born and grew up in Brooklyn during the Depression and started drawing one-panel cartoons for several New York newspapers, including the original Brooklyn Eagle. In 1942 he began working for Timely Comics, which later became Marvel Comics. One of his first assignments was Captain America. He also worked on numerous horror, crime and western titles.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Coronavirus will affect real property managers

How the coronavirus will affect building owners, commercial tenants and residential tenants in New York City remains to be seen, according to the Globe Street property management site. “While every landlord hopes their tenants won’t be hurt, it is beneficial to be aware of potential vacancies before they materialize,” said Ailon Vegler of the property technology firm Okapi. At office buildings, HVAC and other building functions are usually optimized for the number of people in the building every day. If 50 percent of the people begin to work from home, those settings would have to be reconsidered, he said. Conversely, owners and managers of multifamily buildings have to be prepared for higher daytime occupancy in their buildings than is typical.

Homeless present challenge in coronavirus environment

One group that has presented a challenge during the coronavirus crisis is the homeless, according to City Limits. At food pantries that cater to homeless people, thousands come through the door. “Our goal is to create as much social distance as possible. Instead of a supermarket-style pantry where visitors can pick the items to take, clients are being handed pre-packaged bags,” said one Bronx social service-agency worker. “As for as showers and mail go, we’re just trying to keep the number of people in the building low.”

Vandals break into 19 cars in Williamsburg

Authorities said vandals broke the windows of 19 cars in Brooklyn and stole items from them yesterday morning. The crime happened at around 4:45 a.m. on Penn Street between Marcy and Harrison avenues, according to PIX11. Video of three people believed to be the perps has been released.

Bars, restaurants, landlords grapple with shutdown

The Real Estate Board of New York plans to push state and city officials to make a series of changes to help struggling owners and businesses in the wake of the coronavirus scare, according to The Real Deal. A REBNY spokesperson said it will call for a delay in fines and other fees issued against small businesses, a halt in commercial rent taxes for ground-floor tenants and the elimination of penalties for late payment of property taxes. The group also plans to seek a reduction in sales taxes and a deferral of sales tax payments. As for whether the establishments are obligated to keep paying rent during the coronavirus closure, contract clauses for “force majeure” events or “acts of God” tend to be considered on a case-by-case basis in the U.S., The Real Deal said.

NYC has imbalance between jobs, housing

New York City’s housing crunch is fundamentally a reflection of the city’s extraordinary success in generating jobs, contrasted with its inability to produce new housing to match the demand generated by its workers, according to the Economics 21 website. By 2019, annual average nonfarm employment had increased from 3,829,500 in 2008 to 4,651,400, an increase of more than 21 percent. In contrast, the U.S. Census Bureau recorded a total of 206,860 permits for new housing units from 2010 to 2019, representing just a 6 percent increase over the 2010 Census base of 3.371 million. The ratio of new jobs to new housing permits over the decade was about 3.9 to 1.

Brooklyn-born artist dies in Maryland

Arleen L. Cook, an accomplished painter and decorator, died Sunday of congestive heart failure at age 94 in Lorien Assisted Living in Bel Air, Maryland, according to the Baltimore Sun. The former Arleen Lester, daughter of Harold Lester, a New York City civil engineer; and his wife, Tacie Lester, a homemaker, was born and grew up in Bay Ridge. She graduated from Fort Hamilton High School and later attended Packer Collegiate Institute in Downtown Brooklyn on a scholarship. Cook enjoyed painting landscapes in oils. She also was especially fond of creating miniature shadow boxes that featured detailed houses and furniture from the Colonial era.

Alternate-side parking regulations suspended

The de Blasio Administration yesterday announced that Alternate Side Parking Regulations will be suspended for one week, running through Tuesday, March 24, 2020. The city may extend the suspension based on street cleanliness and workforce availability. Any New Yorker under isolation who has received a ticket can appeal to the Department of Finance and should provide medical documentation or testimony, which will be taken into consideration when their case is reviewed. For any additional questions call 311.

Lentol calls for statewide absentee ballot voting

Assemblymember Joseph R. Lentol (D-Bushwick-Williamsburg-Greenpoint) yesterday called for New York State to allow for an all-absentee ballot election for the upcoming presidential primary instead of sending New Yorkers to the polls on April 28. “In the current climate, people would be scared to go to the polls, and we have to assume that will still be the case at the end of April,” Lentol said. Earlier this week, a special election in Queens to elect a new borough president was postponed due to fear of spreading the coronavirus.

Brooklyn construction continues despite coronavirus

Despite the coronavirus epidemic, one thing that has not slowed down in Brooklyn is construction, according to Brownstoner. Yesterday morning, a check on a few of the big construction sites around Downtown Brooklyn found that large crews — some wearing masks, some not — were continuing to work. These sites included 196 Willoughby Street, where RXR Realty is building a 34-story residential tower; 9 DeKalb Ave,, which will eventually fuse Brooklyn’s first supertall tower to one of the borough’s most iconic structures; and 420 Albee Square, where a 35-story office building is nearing completion. A spokesperson for JDS Development, who is behind the project at 9 DeKalb Ave., sent a statement to Brownstoner: “Right now we are following New York City’s guidelines, which have not called for a stoppage on construction activity.”

Video released of car burglar

Police have released video of a thief caught on camera stealing a woman’s wallet at a gas station in Bedford-Stuyvesant, according to ABC7. The incident took place on Saturday, Feb. 15, in front of a gas station on Bedford Avenue. The video shows a male suspect looking inside a 51-year-old woman’s car as she pumps gas. The man then opens the car door, grabs the victim’s wallet and then flees on a bicycle, ABC7 reported.

Bars will deliver alcoholic drinks, but only with food

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday told reporters that as part of his new delivery-only regiment for bars and restaurants, they will still be allowed to sell alcohol to go, but only with food, according to Gothamist. He noted that this is not a permanent change and would only be in effect for the duration of the mandatory closures. Normally, bars and restaurants can’t deliver alcoholic drinks. In New York City, patronage at restaurants was down 64 percent on March 14, compared with the same night a year earlier, Gothamist said.

Compiled by Raanan Geberer.


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